Mount’s 10th annual CARD conference explores activism in Gen Z

November 12, 2019

Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact, discussed student service and activism at the 10th annual CARD Conference on November 5.

Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact, discussed student service and activism at the 10th annual CARD Conference on November 5.

Mount Saint Mary College’s Center on Adolescent Research and Development (CARD) presented its 10th annual conference, “21st Century Adolescence Activist Youth: Fostering Altruism and Civic Responsibility,” on Tuesday, November 5 at the college.

The keynote speaker was Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact, who presented “Controversy in the Classroom – Educating Students for Civic and Social Responsibility.”

“There’s a huge opportunity to connect with the energy that young people have right now to make a difference in the world,” he explained. “Teachers have a special role in helping to connect that energy with understanding of our political processes, the values of respecting everybody in a democracy, and participating in processes that are based on our equal dignity and our equal right to participate.”

Seligsohn noted that in the last few years, “We have seen a real uptick in student political engagement.” On top of a strong, ongoing desire to serve their communities – something Gen Z has become known for – these students also wish to serve through politics and government.

“More students are connecting the idea that if they care about the people around them, if they’re concerned about specific issues, they should be involved in public policy, and deciding who makes the laws, and what the laws look like,” Seligsohn said. “You can’t separate out the issues that people confront in their real lives from the policies and decision-making”

Other featured presentations included:

  • “March for Our Lives: Thrust into Activism” by Robert Schentrup
  • “Wingman: Working with Middle School Youth” by Ian Hockley
  • “Student Activists in Adulthood: How Their Early Activism Has Affected Her Adult Life” by Erin Sweeney

The conference was presented by the Mount’s Center for Adolescent Research and Development, in collaboration with Orange Ulster BOCES, the Mid-Hudson Schools Study Council, and the Mid-Hudson Social Studies Council. CARD is co-directed by professors Frances Spielhagen, Education, and Paul Schwartz, Psychology.